I am a Temple

Friday, January 20, 2017


I am a temple.

I am going to try my best to not get too Jesus-y in this post, because the point of this blog is weight loss.  Even if you aren't a religious person, you hopefully at least agree that we should treat our bodies with care and respect.  We have to spend a lifetime in them, after all.

I am a Catholic, and as such, we are taught that our bodies are the dwelling of the Holy Spirit (God.)  The cliffs notes version of the story is that before Jesus, there was a Jewish Temple.  It was destroyed and rebuilt a couple times, but once Jesus was around and the temple was destroyed - he made the metaphor that if you tear the temple down, I'll rebuild it in three days-which everyone took to mean Jesus is the temple (who would be destroyed/crucified and rebuilt/resurrected).  So churches have meaning and significance and we build them to honor the Lord and continue His work here on earth, the real 'temple' lies in Jesus and in us via the Holy Spirit.  (This is not a good enough reason to not attend church! ((in my opinion.))

So the Lord is dwelling in us, as believers.  When we die, our bodies will rest, then get resurrected when He comes again. Sadly, we don't turn into spirit orbs from what I understand.  So, yes, we are more than our body, but our body is still there with us the whole time.  

If I am worthy enough to get to heaven, I might be pissed if my fat body has to come too, lol.  When I imagine what it might look like, I picture us all being 'whole' again.  An amputee has his legs again, a teen with bad acne has perfect skin, someone who was disfigured in an accident is back to how they were before, and I am me without 150 extra pounds.  Or maybe we look like zombies but are too happy to care? 

I am a temple.

As long as I can remember, a core life philosophy I have held is 'I am more than what I look like.'  This still is very true to my heart.  Especially in these times where we need feminism more than we thought we did.  I am funny, and intelligent and plenty of other things that I would prefer to be judged on rather than the size of my rear end.  I have been overweight all of my life, so (thankfully?) I haven't had the overwhelmingly common experience of being objectified.  Not that it has never happened, but I have literally seen it happen with my own eyes and ears to plenty of traditionally attractive colleagues.  However I have felt the sting of being invisible, despite my taking up so much physical space, more times that I want to remember.  I wanted no part of either scenario, so I turned my nose up and types who ogled the pretty girls and went on evangelizing my message of 'love me for my personality, it is really great!'

The message by itself isn't flawed, but yours truly managed to muck it up along the way.  You love people and yourself for who they are on the inside, but that doesn't give you license to treat your outsides like a garbage dump.  I'd venture to say that if you do treat your body so carelessly, perhaps you don't love yourself as much as you think?

During my journey through young/middle adulthood I have morphed this 'I am more than what I look like' message into an 'I don't care what I look like, and I don't care what you think about it either' message. This is problematic for a couple of reasons.  First, the catalyst of the morphing was laziness.  I am not advocating for deeper connections and respect of all people, I am just making excusing for not ironing my shirt and picking up fast food for all three meals of the day.  That isn't respectful of anyone I am around in a given day and it certainly isn't respectful to myself.  Secondly, this really sells yourself short in so many ways.  I get an attitude about good looking people.  How they must be so vain or probably not very smart - spending all their time doing up their hair and makeup instead of reading a book.  It isn't fair or kind or loving, and that isn't the person I want to be.  I get mad that attractive people just get handed all sorts of things in life, and it is total sour grapes.  Those things just compound the ugly.  

I am a temple.

I thought I was being kind to myself.  When I would see how my thin friends ate - always choosing the grilled chicken, never fried, ordering soup as their whole meal when we go out to eat, having a rice cake as an enjoyable snack, etc., it seemed so sad.  In my mind, these people were punishing themselves in order to keep a svelte physique.  (No one is claiming that I have normal attitudes about food, no worries) I felt happy with who I was usually, and I felt like in all other areas of my life I was working hard and doing well, so I let myself have free reign and no restrictions about food.  I pretty much never denied myself at all.  To this day, I will go for the most decadent and calorie laden food options everywhere I go.  It is like a special talent I have.  I love myself, so I get to have everything I want.

I am a temple.

The Holy Spirit is within me.  I wouldn't desecrate a church, so I ought not desecrate my body.  I don't do myself any favors by overeating and packing on so much weight that I am nearly more inches around than I am tall.  It isn't a punishment to eat a simple and unprocessed meal that I had to prepare myself.  I realize that of course, this is an oversimplification of my issues and why I am obese, but I feel that it is only to my benefit to be mindful of these things when I do sit down for a meal.  

It helps to think about the situation a step removed.  If a child I loved wanted nothing but candy for dinner, how would I respond with love?  They tell me they listened to their teacher all day, finished their homework, made straight A's and were the youngest person to be nominated for a Nobel prize.  Do I let them have candy for dinner, even though they are winning at life in every other way?  God, no.  I love them.  I want them to have a balanced healthful dinner with maybe a piece of candy afterward.  So shouldn't I treat myself the same way?

I am a temple.

Temples are beautiful.  We don't build a church that is sterile like a hospital, or utilitarian such as a factory.  We put beautiful and meaningful imagery and art on every wall.  Churches are adorned in gold and priceless art because that is how we show God how loved He is.  

Beauty isn't just some silly superficial distraction.  (It can be, sure, if taken too far.)  But beauty in our lives and in ourselves is a gift.  Too often a low self esteem, laziness (my hand is raised), or a multitude of other reasons will talk us out of being our best selves.  This may be digressing and I am definitely not saying that beauty only belongs to those who are height and weight proportionate, but when you treat your body like the temple it is, beauty follows.  When we feel good about ourselves and treat our bodies with the proper care and emit that beauty into the world, I believe it radiates into every other faction of your life.  Your confidence can get you a new friend, a job promotion or new client, love, a winning lottery ticket, and who even knows what else?! I admit it, I was wrong about beauty and not giving it the credit it deserves.  I think beauty inside AND out can be a virtue and a way to honor God and one another.

I am a temple.  

Much of this weight loss process entails challenging the deep seeded beliefs that I have had for a very long time.  It isn't easy, but I continually remind myself that my views of the world are at least in some part flawed.  The behaviors which made me the size I am are all rational responses to a set of irrational beliefs.  I think beauty is a superficial waste of time, so I look sloppy and wind up with a low self esteem based on the way others perceive me.  I think eating everything with reckless abandon is a reasonable reward for a hard day's work.  Eating vegetables is a punishment for a crime I didn't commit, so pass the cheese fries.  It is a rich tapestry, folks.  

I am going to keep reminding myself that I am a temple.  I am going to try reeeeally hard to remember to say grace before a meal (I am so bad at this.) and remind myself that I am nourishing a temple not overstuffing an NYC trashcan next to a hotdog cart.  Maybe with enough reminders I will eat more mindfully, spend less time on the sofa and more time moving my muscles.  Then everything falls into place and people will comment, dayum, nice temple on my instagram photos. (not really, lol)

Lets take care of them like they have to last forever!




And for those who aren't religious at all, sorry I wasted 5 minutes of your day!



1 comment:

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